Donald Sadoway of MIT talks about an aspect of energy issues not normally focused on - batteries, or at least some way of storing energy created by solar and wind sources. If the sun is not out, and the wind not blowing, we need to have back-ups so we can continue to have access to energy. Our society simply demands this, and it will only increase as the population grows.
We will not be able to conserve enough, or drill enough, to continue to match increasing demands, so energy storage is the key to future energy production and consumption. Check out this TED talk. It is also a wonderful application of the chemistry and physics we are learning!